I don’t desire a future for humanity like the ones imagined by our culturally designated future-imaginers. I don’t want humans living in Elon Musk Mars colonies or Jeff Bezos space cylinders. I don’t want us to fly out into the stars, to disappear into virtual reality universes, or to move away from our humanness by becoming cybernetic organisms.
Not yet anyway. Not for a long time. Not until we’ve done what we need to do here first.
Have you ever noticed that most books, shows and movies set in the future tend to depict a humanity that’s more technologically advanced than our own, but thinks and behaves in basically the same way? In the average sci-fi story people are still waging wars, still fighting, conquering, subjugating, toiling and surviving just like today, except they’re doing it out in space surrounded by a bunch of aliens (who are also oddly entangled in the same egoic patternings as humans in the 21st century).
In this common vision for the future, we have mastered space travel but still haven’t mastered basic psychological health. Our technology has enabled us to kill, enslave, manipulate and exploit among the stars so that we are no longer confined to killing, enslaving, manipulating and exploiting down here.
This tendency is partly due to the limits of imagination; it’s easy to imagine more advanced versions of our own technology, but trying to imagine a mindframe that’s very different from your own is like trying to imagine being twice as intelligent as you are. Trying to imagine living in a conscious civilization while your own civilization is deeply unconscious is like a dream character trying to imagine life outside the dream. It’s not hard to extrapolate upon existing patterns, but envisioning the complete dissolution of patterns can be much more difficult.
At its core, when stripped away of all rhetoric and technicalities, the Fed's QE is just one big bond-buying operation by the so-called Lender (and Buyer) of Last Resort, an operation meant to stabilize the market and restore order and price transparency even if it means creating an artificial market (as the Fed found out the hard way 12 years of QE will do). And if one goes by that simple definition, last night China - which has so far been against replicating the Fed's repertoire of market intervention amid concerns it would exacerbate the country's giant debt bubble - quietly launched QE.
According to Bloomberg, Chinese regulators asked the nation’s biggest insurers to buy bonds being offloaded as retail customers pull their cash from fixed-income investments. At a meeting on Wednesday, Chinese regulators told top insurers to backstop the market and buy bonds sold by wealth management units at banks to prevent further volatility. Some banks also proposed to use their proprietary trading desks to scoop up bonds, one source said.
Of course, in China where virtually every major financial enterprise is a SOE - i.e., state -wned - there is no such thing as "big independent insurers": they are all essentially government entities, and just one-step removed from official state apparatus to preserve some semblance of a private market (with state characteristics). But at the end of the day, what the regulators just greenlighted is nothing shy of QE, and what's more, unlike the US where at least there is some pretense of an asset swap as banks exchange bonds for reserves, in China the flow of funds is much simpler: someone, anyone, buys bonds to calm down the market. And since this is a step that is usually taken as a last-ditch resort, one can confidently say that we may have very well seen the bottom in Chinese assets.
The signs are already present and obvious, but the overall economic picture probably won’t be acknowledged in the mainstream until the situation becomes much worse (as if it’s not bad enough). It’s a problem that arises at the onset of every historic financial crisis – Mainstream economists and commentators lie to the public about the chances of recovery, constantly giving false reassurances and lulling people back to sleep. Even now with price inflation pummeling the average consumer they tell us that there is nothing to worry about. The Federal Reserve’s “soft landing” is on the way.
I remember in 2007 right before the epic derivatives collapse when media pundits were applauding the US housing market and predicting even greater highs in sales and in valuations. I had only been writing economic analysis for about a year, but I remember thinking that the overt display of optimism felt like compensation for something. It seemed as if they were trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the public in the hopes that if people just believed hard enough that all was well then the fantasy could be manifested into reality. Unfortunately, that’s not how economics works.
Supply and demand, debt and deficit, money velocity and inflation; these things cannot be ignored. If the system is out of balance, collapse will set its ugly foot down somewhere and there’s nothing anyone including central banks can do about it. In fact, there are times when they deliberately ENGINEER collapse.
In my previous post, The Bubble Economy's Credit-Asset Death Spiral, I described the self-reinforcing feedback of expanding credit and soaring asset valuations and how the only possible result of this financial perpetual motion machine was a death spiral of collapsing debt service, collateral and credit impulse.
But this didn't exhaust the destructive dynamics of this self-reinforcing wealth-creation machine for the few who own the vast majority of the assets. As longtime correspondent T.D. explains, this concentration of the benefits of financialization in the hands of the few also concentrates political power and the wealth to distort every function of the economy to enrich the few at the expense of the many.
This concentration of wealth and corruption isn't cost-free. As I've discussed here many times, capital siphoned $50 trillion from labor via hyper-financialization and hyper-globalization:
Traversing Transportation Security Administration (TSA) lines is already stressful enough at airports. All travelers are screened during the security process by technology or an invasive pat-down. One such machine currently being tested in more than a dozen airports with a possible nationwide rollout next year is one where travelers look straight into a camera, according to The Washington Post.
The TSA is quietly testing a biometric machine called the next generation of Credential Authentication Technology (CAT) to verify the identity of travelers via their face. CAT scans the traveler's photo ID and then compares that with the Secure Flight database.
CAT machines are currently at 16 major airports with plans to expand nationwide, according to WaPo, adding, "Kiosks with cameras are doing a job that used to be completed by humans: checking the photos on travelers' IDs to make sure they're not impostors."
Australia has seen a spike in its mortality rates in 2022, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) stating that by the end of August 2022, 128,797 deaths had been registered, which is 18,671 deaths, or 17 percent, more than the historical average.
In the data release on Nov. 25, the ABS noted that of registered deaths; there had been a rise in the number of Australians dying from dementia (18.9 percent above the baseline average), diabetes (20.8 percent higher than the baseline average), cancer, and COVID-19.
Karen Cutter, a spokesperson for the Actuaries Institute of Australia (AIA) said in a media release (pdf) that even after the Institute’s COVID-19 Mortality Working Group removed all “from” and “with” COVID-19 deaths, it was not clear why Australians were dying in larger numbers from other diseases such as ischaemic heart disease, cancer, and cerebrovascular disease in 2021 and 2022.
The United States is planning to slap new sanctions on Russia and China on Friday for alleged human rights abuses and Beijing’s support of supposed illegal fishing in the Pacific Ocean, the Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday, citing officials familiar with the matter.
According to the newspaper, the assets of high-profile government and military officials as well as business leaders allegedly accused of corruption and human rights violations will be frozen in the United States under the planned action. The sanctioned individuals will also be banned from entering the US and doing business with them will be prohibited.
Also, the new restrictions may hamper international travel and financing for the affected government officials and businessmen, the WSJ writes. According to it, the Biden administration also intends to levy sanctions on several Russian defense companies and the country’s Central Election Commission.
Ukrainian culture minister Oleksandr Tkachenko has issued a new demand to the West to halt performances of Russian music, Russian ballet and boycott other forms of Russian culture, arguing Ukraine is in a “civilizational battle.”
Culture Minister Tkachenko argued that Russia was engaging in a cultural war as well as a physical war against his country, claiming that the Russian armed forces have destroyed 800 objects from monuments to works of art and museums.
In an opinion article for the Guardian newspaper, Tkachenko wrote, “Russian culture has been used by members of the Kremlin to justify their terrible war,” and claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin has insisted that Russia and Ukraine are “one nation.”
“Boycotting Russian culture is an important step. We’re not talking about cancelling Tchaikovsky, but rather about pausing performances of his works until Russia ceases its bloody invasion,” Tkachenko said and added that Ukrainian cultural venues have already banned Russian works.
After just within the past week China's government dramatically pivoted from its ultra-harsh 'zero Covid' policy - a policy which had triggered unprecedented widespread protests against communist authorities and health officials as in some instances they barricaded whole neighborhoods into strictly controlled quarantine zones - toward what appears a full embrace of a more lax 'Swedish model' type approach, national health authorities are prepping the population for the coming Covid wave, which could impact an estimated 80 to 90% of the Chinese population, according to a fresh projection by Feng Zijian, a former deputy chief at China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"It’s going to be inevitable for most of us to get infected once, regardless of how the Covid-fighting measures are adjusted," Feng said Tuesday during a virtual conference discussing the zero Covid offramp at Tsinghua University in Beijing. As a senior health official, Feng is part of the central government's task force in implementing new policies which has moved away from the 'one size fits all' mentality that guided Beijing's health response since the pandemic began.
Webmaster addition: So they will have natural immunity, whish works far better than the "vaccine." So the lockdowns can end.
Former German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday admitted that her participation in the Minsk Agreements between Ukraine and Russia in 2014 and 2015, was a deliberate deception; designed only to "buy time" for Ukraine to build its army for war with Russia. A war that is now presently taking place.
All this was PLANNED . . .
It is widely known that so-called "Conspiracy Theorists" believe almost all of the things going on politically in the world are "theater." They claim that the upheaval, dislocation, troubles are "all planned" long in advance. Most folks discount such claims as being too fantastic to believe, yet now we have actual proof that the present Ukraine-Russia war, was, in fact, planned as far back as 2014. All the troubles we have today from that war . . . were, in fact, planned.
In public remarks this week, Angela Merkel quite casually revealed that the Minsk Agreements of 2014 and 2015 were not signed with the intention of achieving lasting peace. Instead, they were signed, according to Merkel, "to buy time" for Ukraine during which it would strengthen for new conflicts with Russia.
The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, a few days before signing the Treaty on the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in 1991, adopted a document according to which Kyiv was losing Crimea and western territories.
Federal officials forgave $809 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans handed out during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 to more than 100 of the nation’s top law firms and another $635 million given to hundreds of elite accounting offices, according to a new analysis of government spending to be made public on Dec. 2.
As described by the Department of Treasury, the PPP was established in 2020 to provide “small businesses with the resources they need to maintain their payroll, hire back employees who may have been laid off, and cover applicable overhead.”
The program was administered by the federal Small Business Administration, which made $787 billion in federal loans to companies and firms spanning all industries. The vast majority of the “loans” were subsequently turned into grants, which didn’t require repayment.
An investigation by Open the Books found that hundreds of millions of federal tax dollars went to top law and accounting firms even though most of them didn’t qualify as small businesses and didn’t have to lay off employees.
Open the Books is a nonprofit watchdog that uses public information laws such as the federal Freedom of Information Act to make government spending public, including “every dime online, in real time.”
The Epoch Times obtained an advance copy of the investigative report.
A Texas federal judge has ordered Southwest Airlines to reinstate Charlene Carter, the flight attendant who made headlines after a jury ruled that she was unlawfully fired for expressing pro-life views and for criticizing her union.
In a decision filed on Dec. 5, five months after a jury decided in Carter’s favor, Judge Brantley Starr remarked, “Bags fly free with Southwest. But free speech didn’t fly at all with Southwest in this case.”
Starr granted Carter $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from Southwest; $300,000 in compensatory and punitive damages from the flight attendants’ union, Transport Workers Union of America Local 556; $150,000 in back pay, and $60,180.82 in prejudgment interest.
Although the jury voted that Carter deserved more than $5 million, laws and rules limit the amount that can be awarded in such cases.
“The jury also awarded front [or future] pay, but Carter would rather have her job back,” the judge wrote. “The Court reinstates Carter to her former position … If the Court opted for front pay over reinstatement, the court would complete Southwest’s unlawful scheme. Reinstatement is appropriate.”
Leading up to the Covid-19 pandemic, roughly 95% of commercial office space was occupied across the United States, according to US National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) – a nonprofit, non-government organization. By March 2020, occupancy plummeted to 10%, and has only recovered to 47%, according to a new NBER report which claims $453 billion in office commercial real estate value has been wiped out in an "office real estate apocalypse."
The mishandling of the covid-19 pandemic by global elites has severely eroded confidence in expert opinion. New information is emerging that senior officials doubted policies that were foisted upon the American public. By sharing the results of his deposition with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Missouri attorney general Eric Schmitt exposed Fauci’s advocacy of face masks as insincere:
Another tidbit from the Fauci depo: In Feb 20 he emailed a friend advising her that masks were ineffective.
Confirmed again on Mar 31.
On April 3 he’s adamant masks should be worn even though he couldn’t cite a single study to prove it.
Mandates followed—Lives ruined.
Numerous studies disputed the efficacy of face masks, yet mask mandates rose to national prominence. During the apex of pandemic hysteria, the American Institute for Economic Research ran a series of scathing articles debunking the usefulness of face masks. In fact, one prominent 2020 study boldly admitted that mask use is primarily symbolic:
We know that wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes...
The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflective reaction to anxiety over the pandemic.
President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky suggested that the conflict in Ukraine may end in 2023. Zelensky spoke about it in a video address for Politico (the publication recognised Zelensky Europe's most influential person).
See more at https://english.pravda.ru/news/world/155055-zelensky_ukraine_war/
Webmaster addition: You could end the war any time you want Vol.
On the first full day of his visit wherein he was lavishly greeted and given full red-carpet treatment after arrival in the kingdom (clearly more so that Biden's summer trip to Jeddah), Chinese President Xi Jinping met with King Salman and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Thursday, and wide-ranging economic and tech trade agreements were signed to the tune of tens of billions of dollars, along with pledges to expand military cooperation.
Among the commercial deals made, one name that featured prominently is sure to raise eyebrows in Washington, given the blanket ban and years-long controversy in the states: Huawei. Among the over $29 billion in agreements signed, The Wall Street Journal reports the Saudis are "setting up a Huawei cloud-computing region, building an electric-vehicle manufacturing plant in Saudi Arabia and supplying green hydrogen batteries for a futuristic smart city the prince wants to build."
The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has launched another criminal case on charges of high treason after its raid on churches and monasteries of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, SBU said on its official Telegram channel on Thursday.
"The security service has completed its counter-intelligence measures at facilities belonging to the UOC-MP [the Ukrainian Orthodox Church - Moscow Patriarchate] in the regions of Kherson [joined Russia after a referendum], Cherkassy, Zhitomir and Volyn," the statement says.
The service claimed that a search in one of UOC-MP cathedrals revealed that some of its priests had Russian passports, issued earlier this year.
"Criminal proceedings have been launched in accordance with Part 2 Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine [state treason, committed during the period of martial law]," SBU said.
Frau Merkel revealed in her interview with the Zeit newspaper that the Minsk agreements were not an attempt to establish peace in war-torn Ukraine but they were aimed to give the Kiev regime more time to strengthen their military and prepare for a large-scale war.
The lady confirmed that all the Western authors of the current war in Ukraine, including herself, did nothing for peace in Europe, but tried their best to inflame the war against Russia as mush as possible on the territory of Ukraine and paying with the lives of the Ukrainian people:
I thought that the introduction of NATO accession of Ukraine and Georgia, discussed in 2008, was wrong. The countries did not have the necessary prerequisites for this, nor was it fully understood what the consequences of such a decision would have been, both with regard to Russia’s actions against Georgia and Ukraine, as well as NATO and its rules of assistance. And the Minsk Agreement of 2014 was an attempt to give Ukraine time.
Ukraine used this time to become stronger, as you can see today. The Ukraine of 2014/15 is not the Ukraine of today. An illustrative example was the battle for Debaltseve. At the beginning of 2015, Putin could easily have overrun them at that time. And I very much doubt that the NATO countries could have done as much then as they do today to help Ukraine.
Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen, together with 17 other state attorneys general, has demanded that shipping companies UPS and FedEx explain their newly implemented policies to track and record Americans’ firearms purchases, and disclose whether these policies have been coordinated with the Biden administration.
In letters sent on Nov. 29 to FedEx CEO Raj Subramaniam and UPS CEO Carol B. Tomé, Knudsen and co-signers wrote that the shipping companies’ policies “allow your company to track firearm sales with unprecedented specificity and bypass warrant requirements to share that information with federal agencies.”
“What both of these companies are saying is that they’re doing this so they can better cooperate with law enforcement,” Knudsen told The Epoch Times. “That’s all fine and well, until you find out that that’s a violation of federal law.”
Does Putin realize that by needlessly prolonging the conflict he is not only causing unnecessary Russian casualties, but also he could be putting his leadership in danger? Many Russians believe that Putin is making Russia look foolish by inability to bring the conflict to a victorious close. This might also affect recruitment. There is no pride for youth to be in a military force that does not defeat a third world country like Ukraine. Considerations of this sort together with the ability a prolonged conflict gives Washington to expand Western participation in the Ukraine conflict, while building up NATO forces on Russia’s borders, raise serious questions about the wisdom, if any, of Putin’s go-slow limited military intervention. Playing a goody two-shoes role at the expense of your own country doesn’t make sense. Does Putin understand that he cannot simultaneous be at war with Ukraine and protect Ukraine?
Hill announced an increase in support for Russia among both parties of the US Congress. The number of US residents who advocate reducing support for Ukraine is increasing dramatically. This was stated by columnist Douglas Shawn in a material for Hill.
Shoen was concerned about the growth of pro-Russian sentiment and stressed that there are more and more supporters of this position among both parties of the US Congress.
"Republicans in Congress label their position as "realism", arguing that Washington cannot continue to help Ukraine because of inflation, which affects the lives of American families, and should not risk a nuclear war with Russia for the sake of a country thousands of miles away," he stressed.
The author of the material added that pro-Russian views and refusal to allocate aid to Kiev were previously noticeable only among Republicans. But gradually, the left wing supporters "loudly spoke out against the continued support of Ukraine in their letter to the Biden administration." The Democrats in a letter to American President Joe Biden stated that the conflict in Ukraine was the result of Washington's policy, but later they withdrew the document.
The board voted unanimously on Dec. 6 to fire Ziegler without cause, the Virginia school district’s spokesman, Wayde Byard, told The Epoch Times.
The move came after a special grand jury in Loudoun County released a 91-page report on Dec. 5 condemning Ziegler and other school officials for displaying a “stunning lack of openness” about the incidents.
The grand jury, made up of randomly selected Loudoun County residents, said Ziegler lied when he said there were no records of assault occurring in school bathrooms.
China’s steady easing of covid-19 restrictions finally allowed the beleaguered economy to begin reopening. Many experts expect a renewed demand for steel, which means an increased appetite for steel-making raw materials such as iron ore. Both analysts and traders believe the lifting the restrictions was a step in the right direction. This current positivity is clear in the price of iron ore futures, which have started climbing once again.
Ore futures rose this Monday after more cities in China eased their covid restrictions. According to one report, Citi Group believes that the gradual reopening of the economy could propel iron ore prices as high as $150 a ton by June 2023.
In the past month, iron ore prices have enjoyed a significant rise and fresh advancements. According to the report, this prompted Citi to upgrade its forecast for Australia’s top export. The organization also projects that iron ore will reach $120 on a three-month horizon, from its previous price of $110. However, if China initiates even more credit easing up measures, Citi claims ore prices could rally towards $150 a ton in the next three to six months.
Arizona Sen. KYRSTEN SINEMA is changing her party affiliation to independent, delivering a jolt to Democrats’ narrow majority and Washington along with it.
“In a 45-minute interview, the first-term senator told POLITICO that she will not caucus with Republicans and suggested that she intends to vote the same way she has for four years in the Senate. ‘Nothing will change about my values or my behavior,’ she said.
“Provided that Sinema sticks to that vow, Democrats will still have a workable Senate majority in the next Congress, though it will not exactly be the neat and tidy 51 seats they assumed. They’re expected to also have the votes to control Senate committees. And Sinema’s move means Sen. JOE MANCHIN (D-W.Va.) — a pivotal swing vote in the 50-50 chamber the past two years — will hold onto some but not all of his outsized influence in the Democratic caucus.”
On July 22, 2022, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law California Senate bill 1327. The bill applied fee-shifting in cases where civil rights litigants filed lawsuits challenging California firearms law. In essence, if the plaintiffs filing the lawsuit did not win every part of a case against the state, the plaintiffs would be required to pay all the State’s costs. In the unlikely case where the plaintiffs won every part of their suit, they are not awarded any costs they have incurred.
On September 26, 2022, a number of plaintiffs filed suit against the state, claiming the bill violates the Supremacy Clause, the First Amendment, and the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. From the complaint:
1. Plaintiffs bring this suit to challenge the constitutionality of a recently enacted California law that seeks to suppress firearms-related litigation by putting civil rights litigants and their attorneys on the hook for the government’s attorney’s fees and costs if a case results in anything short of total victory for plaintiffs on every claim alleged in a complaint.
2. On July 22, 2022, Governor Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 1327, which includes a one-way fee-shifting penalty in the government’s favor that applies solely to litigation challenging state and local firearm regulations. 2022 Cal. Stat. ch. 146, § 2 (adding Code Civ. Proc. § 1021.11(a)). In simple terms, Section 1021.11enables government defendants to recover fees if a firearms plaintiff loses on any claim in the case, while the plaintiff can only avoid liability for fees if it prevails on every claim in the case. Firearms plaintiffs, moreover,cannot be “prevailing parties” under Section 1021.11, meaning they are never entitled to fees.
Many of the ongoing challenges to California firearms law in federal court are directly implicated and endangered. As the law is worded, challenges that have been in the legal system for many years, which have already been all the way to the Supreme Court, and now remanded to the Ninth Circuit, could be rendered moot by the fear of plaintiffs of financial ruin under the new law.
Germany saw what is perhaps its largest police raid in history, involving 3,000 officers targeting 130 properties across nearly the entire country. With 25 “Reichsbürger” suspects arrested, that amounts to 120 police officers per suspect. It was quite the show of force, and in a sign that the media knew well in advance about the coming arrests, a number of suspects, including German aristocrat Heinrich XIII and former AfD MP Birgit Malsack-Winkemann, were photographed and filmed as they were perp walked out of their homes.
It is worth noting that nobody has been found guilty yet, but of course, even with the notoriously left-wing German media using the incident to whip up fear of the German right, the past may indicate the case could end up being more PR than reality.
The notorious “Nordkreuz” terror group, which was trumpeted by the media in 2017 as a far-right extremist network preparing for “Day X” — or the day when the group would carry out assassinations of left-wing opponents following the collapse of the German government — mostly fizzled out. At the time, politicians, journalists, and various anti-racist organizations jumped on the case, which involved up to 50 people, as an example of Germany’s growing far-right scene.